CBS’ Choice of Super Bowl Commercials Promotes Discrimination, Stereotypes

Discussing the Tim Tebow commericial

by Jake Hawkins

It appears that the closet door has been blasted open in the past year. First, it was renewed discussion on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (At this point traditional journalism, opinion or otherwise, would dictate that I explain the policy and the debate surrounding it, but seriously, if you don’t know what it is by now, you really need to get out more.)

Then it was Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a trial that you probably haven’t heard of despite its significance. Also known as “The Prop. 8 Trial,” Perry v. Schwarzenegger was just heard by the United States Court of Appeals and is widely believed to be the forerunner to a Supreme Court case that will define, as a national precedent, marriage rights once and for all.

Most recently, however, the “gay debate” has surfaced at a rather unusual venue: the Super Bowl. CBS, the network that aired the biggest game in football this year, rejected an ad by gay dating Web site ManCrunch. CBS stated that the ad “is not within the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday.”

The ad, which shows two men kissing while watching the big game, hardly seemed any worse, standards wise, than any other ads during a slot known for (very hilarious) beer commercials, sexual innuendos and live wardrobe malfunctions.

To add insult to discriminatory injury, CBS did allow ad space to Focus on the Family, a group known for their very firm stance against pretty much everything. (Imagine me biting my tongue to refrain from sounding like a “radical leftist” whose only desire is to destroy the American family, recruit children to lifestyles of sin and paint Sarah Palin as, umm, herself.) The ad doesn’t tackle the issue of gay anything, but rather focuses on abortion. (For the record, abortion is bad. Gasp! A liberal who doesn’t support the idea of abortion – it isn’t as rare as you thought it was!) The Focus on the Family ad is still relevant, however.

Tim Tebow, quarterback for the University of Florida football team, stars with his mother in a 'Focus on the Family' advertisement aired during the superbowl.

By allowing a Focus on the Family ad, but rejecting a gay dating site, CBS showed that it has abandoned its previous policy of rejecting all ads regarding political issues and instead has digressed to supporting one political cause, while rejecting another.
This, in and of itself, is fine. CBS is a private company; it can do whatever they want. If NBC has the right to go against public will and oust Conan O’Brien, so too does CBS have the right to discriminate against gay organizations on the basis of standards in one breath, and in another encourage viewers to go online to “see more” of a stripping female masseuse.

Actually, CBS showing their true colors by rejecting the gay ad might be a good thing. Now we know where it stands, and can do something about it. At this point I would love to say I did not watch the CBS broadcast of the Super Bowl as a means of boycott, but truth be told I did not watch the broadcast because I hate football. I would also like to say I won’t be watching CBS anymore in protest, but I never watched them anyway. If I were a CBS viewer, however, I would think twice about my loyalty, and I encourage you all to do the same.


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